Comanche, the 100 foot racing yacht owned by Jim Clark and Kristy Hinze-Clark, has successfully set a new monohull transatlantic record of 5 days, 14 hours, 21 minutes 25 seconds.
Comanche had left New York on July 22 at 20:58 UTC in hopes of breaking the monohull transatlantic record from West to East (Ambrose Light Tower to Lizard Point) of 6 days 17 hours 52 minutes and 39 seconds, set by Mari Cha IV in October 2003.
At 12:19:41 UTC today, Comanche passed Lizard Point (UK) to complete the 2,880 nautical miles route to beat the previous record by 1 day, 3 hours 31 minutes 14 seconds in a total elapsed time of 5 days, 14 hours, 21 minutes 25 seconds at an average speed of 21.44 knots.
Comanche’s owner Jim Clark said: “Comanche was built to break ocean records and the guys have once again powered our fantastic fat-bottomed girl to another title. I am so proud of the entire team and everyone involved in the entire program from top to bottom, the best in world, getting the best out of Comanche. Perfect harmony, and Kristy and I are over the moon.”
Comanche had been on standby for a number of weeks waiting for optimum conditions to slingshot across the Atlantic, managing a fluid rota of over 30 world class sailors on standby over a three month period, primed to be ready at a moment’s notice. On July 21, the team was moved to a ‘green’ as world class navigator Stan Honey alongside skipper Ken Read, agreed that this was the time to go.
With Comanche skipper Ken Read committed to TV commentating at the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series in England, the world class crew was led by team leaders Casey Smith, Tony Mutter, Richard Clarke and Navigator Stan Honey. Due to other commitments, Comanche was also missing regular crewmen such as Kelvin Harrap, Warwick Fluery, Jimmy Spithill and Ryan Godfrey (see full crew list below).
Ken Read concluded: “This latest record is testament to Jim and Kristy’s vision. This is the culmination of six years of hard work and a huge team of experts offshore and onshore all working as one. I never had any doubt this crew would deliver the goods – the boat was in perfect condition and the only thing that would scupper the record would be Mother Nature. Luckily she didn’t throw a spanner in the works and this team have once again proven why they are some of the best in the business.”
The weather window promised fast conditions with strong winds, great angles and flat seas all the way to Europe. And overall it delivered, enabling the team to tear across the Atlantic in record time, using only manual powered winches and hydraulics.
But it wasn’t all plain sailing, the crew encountered some cold, foggy and squally weather with some nail biting lighter patches that kept them all guessing and hoping that they could stay in the same weather system for the duration of the crossing. They also encountered the danger of ice ensuring the team remained on high alert making the trip, and the record, even more of an achievement. In 2015, Comanche also set the 24 hour monohull distance record of 618 miles as they raced across the Atlantic (at an average speed of 25.75 knots).
Photo Credit Yann Riou